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Old 07-20-2014, 02:13 AM   #21
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I'd add one other thing on surveys. I've seen many of the agreements / contracts. Really weak. When you contract with someone it should say exactly what you expect to receive for your money, the deliverables. It shouldn't say "survey boat" or even "insurance survey." It should say what items are to be surveyed, what kind of reports you should get, and some indication of how you expect the survey to be conducted.
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:23 AM   #22
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Many surveyors I have dealt with seem have "canned" surveys on their computers now. It's basically their checklist and plug in...a big danger is missing something they forgot to type over if they are using one from a similar boat instead of the empty template.

Many have a copy (sample sections) on line for you to look at or will email one. Some are even putting in "industry" canned "terms of service" and the contract is really just an e-mail contact form that firms the "terms of agreement posted.

I think I have finally learned my lesson with surveyors and will seek one that had done a previous sistership or the exact same boat. Most of us learn from our mistakes and hopefully it would be the same in this situation.
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:50 AM   #23
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I have to say, if I'm paying for the survey, sure, I'd like it done well and I'd like to have all the information. But I'm not looking for a long laundry list of minor things to fix in order to obtain a new insurance binding.
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:31 AM   #24
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Look for it to be a standard fare. When we wanted to only change brokers and even keep the same provider, they wanted a survey. So we kept the same broker for the time being. So, it's a normal thing for insurers to ask for.

What they are looking for are the big safety and liability items like fire suppression, electrical issues (like GFCI outlets and such) and general condition of their risk. Keep in mind that they have NO CLUE what your boat looks like or its condition. They really need an objective set of eyes to understand their liability.

The price is in the ballpark. Rob Eberlee here on the Neuse quotes. $20/ft. With a repeat customer discount rate of $18/ft. I don't know if the process of an insurance survey is any different. Based on the price, I would say no. The document and result is probably the same. Just with less emphasis of "market value".
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:08 AM   #25
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What they are looking for are the big safety and liability items like fire suppression, electrical issues (like GFCI outlets and such) and general condition of their risk. Keep in mind that they have NO CLUE what your boat looks like or its condition. They really need an objective set of eyes to understand their liability.

The price is in the ballpark. Rob Eberlee here on the Neuse quotes. $20/ft. With a repeat customer discount rate of $18/ft. I don't know if the process of an insurance survey is any different. Based on the price, I would say no. The document and result is probably the same. Just with less emphasis of "market value".
Sure, they're looking for the general condition of the risk. But an annoying aspect of that is the now almost standard request for a survey every five years....even if you've been with the same company for the previous ten years. In that example they absolutely DO have an idea of the boat's condition. They already have two, maybe three surveys on file and in the case of our boat...the trend is constant improvement and upgrades, not deterioration. This for a boat in the Great Lakes region that sits in a heated building eight months out of the year. And even if you're switching carriers or agents....presumably a survey is a survey is a survey...so a recent inspection should transfer between companies let alone agents.

As for insurance versus pre-purchase surveys, I'm seeing less and less distinction between the two. Surveyors are out to make maximum bucks and if they can spend maximum hours for a (formerly) piddling insurance survey, then they'll do so. If owners don't raise hell, the trend will persist and what amounts to a surcharge on insurance will keep going up.

As for market value...surveyors typically don't have a clue. As mentioned previously, they don't subscribe to sold price documentation, and on the Great Lakes, some of them might survey a larger boat once or twice a year. There are much better ways to establish value than relying on some bozo with a tap hammer and/or an (inaccurate) moisture meter.

($16/foot for a SAMS/NAMS certified incompetent in upper Midwest).
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:11 AM   #26
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Again only in my limited areas and experiences...I had a USCG retired friend that wanted me to help with insurance surveys...

Often what is an insurance survey...normally one that YOUR CURRENT insurer want's every so often...may be vastly different than a "survey" to become a new customer.

The insurance surveys I am familiar with are more like safety surveys of a business... much like Tom.B described above.

When switching carriers...much of the time it's like a new boat to you purchase..or pre-purchase survey with valuation. This is where the surveyors have a lot of latitude to really meet the insurer's requirements because as we have heard and I know the actual requirements they want are all over the map even though pre-purchase surveys have really solidified because of the industry's oversight by their professional orgs.

The price of the survey can be negotiated once the final product is solidified. But getting you , the surveyor and the insurer to all agree on specifics is a cluster and most of the time a pre-purchase is done as it is the generic one most insurance companies accept for issuing a policy.

If you need specific (different) things included in a policy than most other boaters...that will require the requisite phone calls and may even be outside of your chosen surveyors comfort range...as if furnishings, other valuables, etc..
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:21 AM   #27
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Just had an insurance survey last November. He was fairly thorough, and fair in his findings. It was an in and out of the water survey. I asked for and he sent the survey to me to look over before sending to the insurance company. He did point out a couple of things I wasn't aware of. I tightened some clamps while he was there. He gave the boat a well above average rating. Valuations are in the tank now, so can't do much about that. His charge for a 42' boat was about $700.00. Not a bad experience.
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:47 AM   #28
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No one has commented in the price yet - $1,060. Does that seem right for a 53' survey? The last one we had done (a buyer's survey) was in 2003 and it was significantly less. But that was nearly 12 years ago.
My survey in December cost the original buyer about $20 per foot. Buyer backed out when he saw the Floscan in action (former sail boater). Contacted the surveyor 2 weeks later and requested to buy the survey. He wanted over 50% of the survey price for a copy. So we agreed on the price based on him walking me through the boat and pointing out all deficiencies on the survey, another sea trial, and a haulout inspection.

I found a number of things he missed (I'm nitpicky bordering on OCD). More importantly, I had him remove 2 items on his list that were normal for a Cummins engine. I don't fault him for the mistakes as I wouldn't expect him to be an expert on every make and model of the engine. While there were things he missed, none of them were significant safety wise, just more bargaining chips for me relative to needed repair /maintenance condition.

My advise to you, is do the survey with him. Don't quibble over the little things you may have overlooked (such as a bilge pump hose he thinks needs replacing) and thank him for pointing them out to you. Save your challenges for if there is anything major. To me, this is like getting a car inspection. Expect to need to replace the wiper blades going in as they always need to find something to prove they did a detailed inspection. If he's not interested in letting you watch, show him the exit.

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Old 07-20-2014, 12:07 PM   #29
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I paid $1100 in May when we purchased. Out of water survey, sea trial and valuation included (but this was not an insurance survey per se). Seems reasonable.
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Old 07-20-2014, 12:18 PM   #30
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No one has commented in the price yet - $1,060. Does that seem right for a 53' survey? The last one we had done (a buyer's survey) was in 2003 and it was significantly less. But that was nearly 12 years ago.
I just had a pre-purchase survey done on a 42' boat for $15/ft in Anacortes, WA. Very complete including a sea trial and haulout, which I paid for separately.
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:14 AM   #31
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Jeff-if you are really concerned (and reading the posts here, hard to tell whether to be or not), I would PM Peter (Pau Hana) and ask him. He is an out of the ordinary insurance guy, honest, straightforward and knowledgeable. He should be able to give you a very good idea of what the insurance company might be looking for and what to expect.
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:50 AM   #32
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Will comment tomorrow- we're on the book in the San Juan's with crappy (is any) cell/net service...
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Old 07-21-2014, 03:01 PM   #33
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Two thoughts:

Why don't you arrange to meet with the surveyor in person, prior to hiring him and get a feel for him. It can tell you a lot. . . if you don't care for him or you have concerns. Don't hire him and move on. I had a really bad experience with a surveyor who was referred too me and caused me some trouble. If I had met with him first, I would have never hired him. Fortunately the adjuster for my insurance company worked with me and straightened out his mess of a survey.

If you think the insurance company is too demanding, shop around, they're a dime a dozen. As long as they are an established insurance company with a marine division and offering an agreed value policy you're probably going to be good. But just be sure and read the policy and ask questions as "the devil is in the details." Maybe even have a knowledgeable third party review the policy.

I can't really comment on the cost as my current insurer hasn't asked for a survey in over 10 years since I switched to them. But that does sound like it's a little on the high side. Inflation I guess!!
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Old 07-21-2014, 04:02 PM   #34
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Tennessee "surveyor" update. After being shown what a REAL survey looks like via one of an identical vessel, and the example on the SAMS site, as what one should expect of a survey-he refunded 75% of the money. He still stands by his "I do 110 surveys a year, and that's all I need to do" whilst also saying admitting he's had complaints. You think? I fear the true condition of these boats he surveyed. We're still going to send his two surveys to SAMS and let them decide if this the type fellow that should be using SAMS name. We worked out his hourly rate to be rather "excessive" for the time he put in for his $18.50 per foot charge, for a boat not even out of the water!!!
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